Read Kerry Crisley’s Summer of Georgie, one scene at a time! Every Saturday, we’ll post a new installment (62 in all). Can’t wait until next week? Get your copy on Amazon!
Installment 1: Prologue
“To new adventures!” Jules proposes, raising her martini. Tess, Nora, Natalie, and I do the same, clinking our glasses and causing tiny ripples of cosmopolitan to surge precariously close to the rim.
“To happy children,” adds Tess, smiling at me.
“Happier, at least,” I say. “I’ll settle for not riddled with anxiety. Not failing any subjects would be a nice little bonus, too.” Next to me, Jules presses her shoulder gently against mine for a moment in support.
I take a sip of the cocktail and shudder. “Oh my God, that’s strong.”
“We’re in a sports bar,” Jules reminds me. “If it isn’t on tap, it’s too complicated.”
“How are you, Georgie?” Nora asks, leaning forward. Her eyes are sharp and interested, searching mine with concern. “Was it hard leaving today?”
Leaving. As in my job. The lovely and serene museum where I’ve been working for well over a decade. Had. Where I had been working until today. I consider Nora’s question. Was it hard? Am I sad? If I am, is it sadness for me or for my son, struggling with autism and the trifecta of a new school, growing pains, and little assholes for classmates?
For months now, Max’s panic attacks over his first year of middle school had become so acute that they had consumed our family’s morning routine, making my and Dan’s train commute into Boston impossible to maintain. It didn’t help that the museum required weekly late nights for board meetings and member events: nights when I came home to a tearful son with a stack of unfinished homework, an aggravated husband, and a daughter retreating into YouTube.
After spending the bulk of my working life in relative contentment, I came to understand the term “rat race.” I was exhausted, worried, and easily triggered. Dan and I were snapping too quickly and too often at each other, and taking our daughter Shannon’s good grades and calm nature for granted. Dan had the higher salary and better health benefits, so it made more sense for me to look for something closer to home that afforded me quicker access to Max’s school when needed, far fewer late nights, and a commute not wedded to a train schedule. The solution presented itself as an opening in Hudson Hotel’s Communications and Foundation Department, located within its flagship hotel and conference center a short drive from my house.
I know Nora is asking if I’m still confident in my decision to take a new job with less responsibility (and pay); if I’m making my own happiness a priority. The truth is, I have no idea. Was it hard to leave the museum? Meh. I’ll miss the people, sure. And the setting. But did I love the work? Did I bound out of bed on Monday mornings, ready to take on the world? No. I never have. In any job, actually.
What does my happiness have to do with it right now, anyway?
I shrug and smile at Nora. “I’m fine, Nor. A little excited for the change, actually.”
“What will you be doing at Hudson?” Natalie asks.
“Your typical communications stuff mostly,” I say. “Newsletters, press releases, social media, that kind of thing. The part I’m excited about is working on their annual charity event, the bike ride.”
Jules turns to me. “Wait. Didn’t you tell me about this job like a year ago? When that head hunter called you?”
I nod. “Yes. I never applied, though.”
“So it’s been open for a year?”
I shake my head. “No, they filled it, but I guess the guy left.”
Nora raises her perfect eyebrows. “Already? That’s a bit of a red flag.”
I shrug again. “There’s a hundred different reasons to leave a job after a short time. I’m not worried.” I neglect to mention that the job I’m stepping into was posted again just a few months ago. That hire apparently didn’t last long, either.
The opening bars to Right Said Fred’s “I’m Too Sexy” float above the din of the happy hour crowd. Jules squeals and gets up. “Dance, Georgie!”
“There’s no dance floor,” I point out, sliding off my stool anyway.
We clink glasses again and groove right at the table. I am happy about the new job, I decide.
And anyway, how bad could it be?
Can’t wait until next week? Get Summer of Georgie on Amazon!